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Signs of the Times: Mooresville Paint & Amp Bodyshop

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Since this father-daughter team began posting attention-grabbing signs in front of their shop, they’ve educated passing drivers and increased business.

“Crooked and Corrupt Insurance Adjusters Not Welcome In This Shop.” If you drove past Mooresville Paint & Bodyshop in Mooresville, Ind., last September, that’s the sign you would’ve seen in front of the facility.

It was just the first of many attention-grabbing, yet educational, signs that owner Randy Pruden and general manager Robbi Pruden Lollar have erected in front of the shop. The next month – in recognition of Halloween – they followed up with: “Scare Your Insurance Company. Know Your Rights.”

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The father-daughter team got the sign idea from a friend of Randy’s who worked for an Indianapolis newspaper. “He put these little quips in [the paper] all the time,” says Robbi. Though the quips weren’t about collision repair, they were witty. “They were like the obituaries. If you read the paper, you just had to see the quips.”

Though they were excited about adapting such quips to collision repair, Randy and Robbi were also a little nervous.

“We really had mixed feelings about putting up the signs,” Robbi says. “We felt good about them, but we didn’t know how everybody else would respond.”

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Shortly after putting up their first sign, they received their first response from a local insurance adjuster. “He was on his way to an agency golf tournament and he stopped in,” says Randy. “At first I thought he was going to be upset about it, but he said, “I’m really glad to see that sign up there.’ I asked him if he was being sarcastic. He said “No, I mean it. It’s a good sign.’ “

In fact, the adjuster was so taken by the sign that he asked Randy for a picture of it so he could take it to the golf tournament and show it to his colleagues.

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Robbi recalls the second response to the sign, which wasn’t quite as positive. “[An independent appraiser] called here and asked, “What does your sign mean?’ The estimator in the front office told him that it meant what it said. The appraiser then said, “Well, do you want this car or not?’

“I called the appraiser back,” says Robbi. “I said, “I’m sorry. Our sign’s not there to offend anybody. It’s put out there for consumer awareness.’ I think I got through to him, but he definitely walked into it with a chip on his shoulder.”

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That was the first and only negative response to their signs. “We’ve had about eight or 10 jobs from people who didn’t even know us,” says Randy. “We asked them why they came to our shop, and they said, “because of your signs.’ ”

But the signs aren’t just attracting customers, they’re also educating them. Robbi says the signs help customers realize they don’t have to do everything adjusters tell them to do. “They think [what adjusters say] is the Bible,” says Robbi. “They think, “I’ve gotta listen. I better take it to whoever the insurance company suggests.’ ”

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Out of all the signs, Randy and Robbi agree that their favorite is their first: “Crooked and Corrupt Insurance Adjusters Not Welcome in this Shop.” Robbi explains: “It took a lot of guts to post it.”

But don’t get the wrong idea. Randy and Robbi don’t dislike all insurance adjusters, just the corrupt ones. “We couldn’t stay in business if it [weren’t] for the insurance companies,” Randy says. “I’m the first one to admit that. But I don’t want to have to kowtow to them, and I don’t want to have to cheat the customer by not performing the work that has to be done. In my 39 years of being in business, I’ve always felt like I’ve done it my way.”

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Writer Emily Canning is an intern with BodyShop Business.

 

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